Mets are already set for a potential DH addition to the National League in 2021

Who are the best New York Mets designated hitter options for 2020? (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Who are the best New York Mets designated hitter options for 2020? (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The DH may be coming to the National League as soon as 2021 and the New York Mets already look prepared.

One of the oldest debates in baseball history might soon be settled, as the designated hitter might expand to the National League. According to baseball analyst Jim Bowden, the National League may adopt the DH as early as 2021. This is very good news for the New York Mets, who would benefit from the inclusion of an extra hitter in their lineup.

The DH is one of those things that every fan of baseball has an opinion about. Some hate it. Some love it. It really is a matter of personal preference.

Whether you agree with it or not, the American League has had a DH since 1973, and it isn’t going anywhere. For decades the NL has kept the tradition of having pitchers hit- even when they aren’t any good at it. According to Howard Megdal of The Hardball Times, in 2018 pitchers hit .115/.144/.148 in 5,135 plate appearances for a -25 wRC+.

The DH would be good for the Mets, as the team would better utilize the hitters at their disposal and provide more opportunities for the offense.

For example, with Yoenis Cespedes coming back from having injuries the last two seasons, wouldn’t it be nice if Cespedes could hit without having to rely on him in the field? Cespedes is 34 years old and at this point in his career, I trust his bat more than his legs.

With Brandon Nimmo, Michael Conforto, and JD Davis/Dominic Smith filling out of the rest of the outfield, there really isn’t space for Cespedes starting a corner outfield spot. Being able to utilize his bat but not his glove could be a huge boost for the Mets lineup.

Assuming Dom Smith backs up corner outfield and Pete Alonso at first base, there won’t be many opportunities for Dom to get in the lineup. However, with a DH, the Mets would be able to utilize Smith’s bat more and actually get him the playing time he showed in 2019 that he deserves.

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Without a DH, I don’t know if Smith has a role for the Mets that isn’t as a bench player. After slashing .282/.355/.525 with 133 wRC+ (which was the third-highest on the Mets in 2019), Smith has proven that he could be an everyday hitter. Without a DH, it won’t be for the Mets.

With four years left on his contract for the 37-year old Robinson Cano, having access to a DH might preserve his career. When Cano becomes too old to play second base, the Mets could still use his bat in their lineup. Even when his legs and glove go, the Mets could still make use of him.

If there was a DH in the NL, the Mets would have access to players that are usually saved for the AL DH- sluggers who can’t play the field anymore that could still hit.

The Edwin Encarnacion/Nelson Cruz types who could still do serious damage at the plate but have no business picking up a glove.

AL teams have always had the advantage of being able to make use of these types of players to boost their offense while the NL teams have to rule them out immediately and cannot consider them options.

Next. What can we expect from Seth Lugo in 2020?

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Overall, adding a DH to the NL would only give the Mets more flexibility in their lineup construction and provide more opportunities for some of their hitters who wouldn’t otherwise have had the chance to contribute.